Unveiling the Carl Lutz Scenic Lookout in Swiss Forest by Lake Kinneret.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
A scenic lookout in memory of Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, was dedicated in Switzerland Forest, which is located near Tiberias.
Carl Lutz, who served as vice consul in the Swiss Embassy in Budapest during World War II, saved more than 60,000 Jews with the safe-conduct documents that he issued and the safe houses where he placed them. Given the title Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1964, he was one of the first to receive it.
The scenic lookout that was built in Lutz’s memory provides visitors with a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Switzerland Forest spreads out around the mountains in its rich, green beauty, with the city of Tiberias nestled at its foot. “We stand here facing this spectacular landscape in a place that symbolizes solidarity, courage, and humanity, said Yossi Ben David, the mayor of Tiberias.
Agnes Hirschi, Carl Lutz’s daughter, came especially from Switzerland to attend the ceremony. She said that the beautiful view reminded her of her father’s home in Switzerland. “The laws of life are stronger than the rules made by human beings. That is what my father believed, and that is how he acted,” she said. “Although he was not born a hero, he would not tolerate the persecution and murder of Jews.”
Switzerland Forest, which spreads out over approximately 3,000 dunams (approx. 740 acres), combines trees planted by human hands with native Israeli trees. With the help of its friends in Switzerland, KKL-JNF has developed hiking and bicycle paths in the forest as well as rest areas, scenic lookouts, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Unlike most KKL-JNF forests, Switzerland Forest had not originally been planted for recreation and leisure purposes, but in order to protect the residents of Tiberias by holding the soil in place with tree roots, thereby preventing landslides.
“When I look from here at the view of the Sea of Galilee and the Galilee, I am filled with certainty that there is no better place to tell the story of Carl Lutz to the many visitors who will be visiting the overlook,” said Arthur Plotke, President of KKL Switzerland. “It is a story that demonstrates how a person who keeps his humanity can change history.”
Read more, watch video of the Carl Lutz Scenic Lookout inauguration